It has already been for a decade that Viru Keemia Grupp has been publishing the results of its activities in the field of sustainable development. In our everyday activities, we act not only in the best interests of ourselves and our employees but are also doing our best for the benefit of the society. Efficient production, environmentally-friendly activities, taking care of employees and the local community - all of those are equally essential elements of sustainable development. We are structuring our activities in a way that enables us to maintain those trends, which are of the highest priority, in a well-balanced focus.
Today we are observing that technologies as well as changes in the field of entrepreneurship and working environment are happening much faster than in previous decades and exert a significant effect on business activities, people, and society. Under such circumstances, we regard our mission as being capable of preserving the valuable resource as well as the position of a responsible miner and supplier. At the same time, we are doing our best to make sure that the access to this valuable resource would be ensured both to current and future generations.
VKG is keeping up with changes successfully. We have taken our production volumes to the best possible level and concentrated on enhancing the quality of our products and improving energy efficiency. We have noticed the unused potential of increasing the value of oils and semi-coke gas and further increase in the degree of automatisation.
Nowadays oil shale is valuable mainly within the context of the global oil market, which is why the local oil shale sector is focusing on the production and boosting the value of shale oil, first and foremost. Owing to extensive experience that accounts for decades, large-scale investments, and the ongoing research and development activities, we have become capable of being competitive at the market that is expected to grow by 1.2% on the average within the next five years.
We are indeed aware of our responsibility in terms of environmental protection and attach great importance to various activities related to environment. Within the Group, an efficient integrated environmental management system has been operating for many years, and we have been complying with it and improving it on a regular basis. Complex measures we are taking are mainly aimed at the protection of the purity of water reserves and ambient air, prudent use of resources, and sensible waste disposal. We pay special attention to the reduction of the amount of emissions of greenhouse gases. It is obvious that in order to ensure long-term competitiveness, it is important that we should work in a smart, environmentally-friendly way that is acceptable for the society. 'Energy saving', 'waste-free production', and 'CO2-neutral economy' make up just a short list of goals, towards which we are striving on a daily basis.
The main driving force behind Viru Keemia Group is highly qualified personnel. By offering the opportunities for professional development and safe working conditions we are building up the feeling of confidence for the future. At VKG we are incessantly dealing with enhancing the efficiency of the system of occupational safety management, which bears its fruit: in recent years the number of accidents at different sites in the Group has been decreasing.
From year to year we pay special attention to social projects in Ida-Virumaa, which are related to education, culture, sport, and providing support to the local youth. Within the reporting period, we have supported over 30 different projects.
In 2019, we celebrate the 95th anniversary of the Estonian oil shale industry, which originated on the current territory of VKG. Our chemists, miners, and power engineers carry along the traditions accumulated throughout the years, expand the knowledge, and acquire new experience. I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart all the current and former co-workers for being able to preserve and promote the main natural reserve in Estonia, i.e. oil shale, as a competitive source of energy at the global market.